This afternoon on my way home, a storm *almost* rolled into Vancouver. The sky flashed bright with a few streaks of lightning — not much, but enough for me to reconsider riding my push bike home. The rain hadn’t really started yet (or to re-started, to be precise, since lingering misty rain is Vancouver’s specialty) but the distant rumblings of thunder and the aforementioned lightning was alarming — and a little tantalising. A real storm was on its way.
But just as quickly as the first few rumblings had rolled in, the weather passed. The thunder never grew louder and the lightning moved away. The sky cleared. The not-really-a-storm was a total anti-climax. And after spending the past few days obsessively examining every detail and news report relating to the Australian federal election (tomorrow AUS time, Friday in Canada), I think this will be a similar story.
It seems as though no matter how much blustering, posturing, and back-stabbing our politicians manage, none can actually articulate why they should be in charge of running Australia. I accept that a Liberal-National Coalition will probably form government tomorrow and about the only good that I can see from it is that finally a Margie will have a role on the national stage.
But really, will much change? I’ll be upfront — I used to be what I considered a “conservative leftie”. These days, I’m just one of the many apathetic young(ish) voters who don’t really care who wins. Mr Midday Musings works in the mining industry so I’m well aware of the dire straits the industry is facing back home — it’s scary. I’m all for economic boosts but I’m not convinced any party can deliver the goods. Ideologically, I’m uninspired by the Coalition and an increasingly right-wing Labor party, and remain unconvinced that the Greens would actually be able to govern — although they do at least provide some opposition to the major parties scarily buzz-word-heavy refugee policies.
This political campaign has been a race to the bottom in so many ways — is there any real surprise that voters like me are apathetic? The election has played out in the media like a political storm, but really it’s been more of a soft wind as two very similar parties gently brush against each other. It could almost be Vancouver’s regular weather played out in real time — dull, grey, lingering, and inspiring gloominess in even the cheeriest voter.
Sadly for them (and for us), politicians are pretty much seen as the muckrakers of Australian society these days. Would Labor backflip on some of the policies that I actually agree with based on a single opinion poll? Maybe. Will the Coalition drag us back to Joh Bjelke-Petersen-esque conservative days? Perhaps. I agree with quite a bit of what is written in today’s Age newspaper and can only sigh when I think that from tomorrow Australia will (most likely) be governed by a political party that pledges to:
- Cut Australia’s humanitarian intake, foreign aid spending, and legal representation for asylum seekers
- Is against gay marriage
- Has no climate change policies
- Is against the NBN and does not have an alternative
- Doesn’t actually seem to have many savings on offer, despite all these cuts
Who knows? Maybe this will be the real storm, the shake up that Australia needs — goodness knows the ALP needs one. You never know, Malcolm Turnbull could overthrow Abbott on day one. And that, at least, would be one bright spot in an otherwise dreary election.